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Whitmarsh 'very sad' to lose Hamilton

ESPN Staff
November 26, 2012 « Horner feared race-ending damage | Car the only weak point - Domenicali »
Lewis Hamilton's final race with McLaren ended in retirement as Jenson Button won at Interlagos © Sutton Images

Martin Whitmarsh admitted that he felt "very sad" at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton's final race for McLaren.

Hamilton retired from the lead when being hit by Nico Hulkenberg, bringing a premature end to his final race before joining Mercedes. 2013 will mark the first time Hamilton has competed in Formula One in anything other than a McLaren and Whitmarsh admitted it was an emotional evening in Brazil before turning attentions to the future.

"I'm very sad about it because I've known him personally for over 15 years," Whitmarsh said. "I've seen him through some great, great moments. He's a great human being, a great asset to any team, so of course I'm disappointed he's going. It's emotional, but we're a tough team, we've got to get on.

"We've got the makings of a good car next year, he's been a friend and a colleague for a long time; next year he'll be a competitor and we'll try and beat him. We'll have - I'm sure - a good relationship, we'll compete appropriately but we'll go out there and see how we get on."

Whitmarsh added that he felt no animosity towards Hulkenberg for the incident which ended Hamilton's race.

"For Lewis not to finish on the podium was a bit disappointing but that's how it happens in motor racing. It was an incredibly exciting race for everyone; great for the championship, great for the fans. Jenson [Button] did it all right, Lewis did it all right and was the victim of Nico. It was a racing incident, I accept that, but a tough one for the team and a tough one for Lewis."